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Archive for the ‘digital’ Category

  • An epilogue: 21 Things I learnt from Midsummer Night’s Dreaming with the RSC

    24th October 13

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in culture, digital

    Midsummers_Web_Banner_Final copy

    Guest Author: Tom Uglow, Creative Director, Google Creative Lab 

    > No epilogue, I pray you; for your play needs no excuse. – Theseus

    On the 21st to 23rd June 2013, the Royal Shakespeare Company put on a unique, one-off performance of Midsummer Night’s Dream in collaboration with Google’s Creative Lab. It took place online, and offline – at the same time. It was the culmination of an 18 month project looking at new forms of theatre with digital at the core.

    Midsummer Night’s Dreaming occurred as a live performance in 4 locations over three midsummer days, following the time structure of the play (which, it turns out, meant mainly at night. Clue is in the title apparently). Simultaneously, an universe of 30 new characters were created on Google+ (i.e. Hercules, Theseus’s best man, Phoebe the Moon & Bottom’s Mum). Their role was to illuminate and augment the play. We didn’t really expect them to go spinning wildly off from the play into their own fractured and fragmented narratives online. But that happened. Even fictional characters like to document their mundane (fictional) experiences: a concept that an audience member described as “like a live online soap opera wrapped round the drama of the play”.

    RSC_Google_Dream40(properPlus1Logo)

    This piece isn’t about what we did or why – for that see about.dream40.org/why. Our collaboration on Midsummer Night’s Dreaming was an experiment for Google and an experiment for the Royal Shakespeare Company. It wasn’t really marketing or sponsorship, it wasn’t a live stream; it was a trial, a rehearsal, an attempt to do something new. #dream40 was an experiment in online narrative for the digital creative world from local theatre through to global agencies. It wasn’t a passive broadcast of a play and it was always meant to be more about questions than answers – so that is why we want to share our thoughts, what we learnt. It’s for you, if you are interested in this sort of thing.

    We soon discovered that our experiment had two paradoxes buried firmly at its heart.

    1. Until we saw what we were creating we didn’t know what we were creating.

    2. Until new paradigms for interaction are defined it is impossible to interact within them.

    And finally a truism: An audience with no idea what to expect can only have their expectations confounded. People ‘watch’ plays, they don’t ‘perform’; cultural consumption is traditionally passive. I personally realised that physical theatre is magical, transformative. It is a form of virtual reality.

    “We learn through doing” said Sarah Ellis. Wisely.

    And what did we learn? Well, we learnt a lot. There is almost nothing that could not have been done better, but there was also nothing wrong with what we did. And if it were a rehearsal we would be able to change up for the big night – instead of which (alas) these ‘notes’ are for other players with similar ideas.

    Fail once, fail twice, fail better said Beckett. Although I am not sure who was there to hear it. Maybe Mrs Beckett tweeted it.

    This project started out as an essay for Sarah Ellis’s MyShakespeare project of 2012.

    It began as a question: What would theatre look like if you invented it in 2013? Would this new theatre would be physical, with a stage, un-augmented by the dominant technology of the day? A format uniquely unaffected by the profound shift from static to fluid information?

    Then, we thought the essay would work better as  a single scene translated via social media. This became a single act. Then a whole text, perpormed live, in real-time, in Selfridges, with cctv, and celebrities. But we never quite got to that. Google finally committed to the dream in Jan 2013 and a more modest schedule that involved a full RSC production performed over three days in the middle of the night, a creative team of five writing 2000 pieces of material for 30 new characters to be shared online non-stop for 72 hours, and a digital team of three.

    Our expectations also scaled up as the project became more visible; the more people we brought in the grander the vision became. We all know how that story ends. Several things didn’t change: 1) the principle – to illuminate a traditional play with online augmentation; 2) the core team (Geraldine Collinge, Sarah Ellis, myself and James Boyce); 3) the budget.

    Looking back what we achieved seems unimaginable.

    Biggest successes:

    Energy and reach – the ability to reach so many people worldwide on our terms was unexpected.

    Theatre – the RSC’s ‘scratch’ performance was transcendent and mesmerising.

    Behind the scenes – the transparency of RSC process (e.g. Hangouts) was a special win.

    Numbers:

    The RSC went from 0 to >300k followers on Google+ moving them into the top 1k brand pages globally. Their page has 375,000 +1′s (‘likes’)

    We assembled a community of more than 1k creators as part of the project.

    On twitter we reached more than 20m people; we assume similar reach on Google+

    #dream40 trended 4th worldwide on G+ for two days

    The project lives on in as a timeline and in archive form at http://dream40.org

    We made a film

    What people said: storify.com/tomux/dream-quotes

    Behind the scenes: storify.com/tomux/dream40

    Dream cast

    Dream cast

    What would we do differently?

    1. Do all the new writing a long long long way in advance. Like a long way. Really long. We hurt the production through the anarchic chaos of having creative arriving simultaneously to the performance, and trying to incorporate live content via the audience, and having creatives live-write for their characters.  Having said that, it was great fun.

    2. One vision directing every aspect. We had digital, artistic and creative directors without oversight of the other teams. It was a miracle the three parts came together at all.

    3. Have a strong, obvious over-arching narrative that brings in the online characters. In television a show-runner makes sure every line, every character feeds back into a topline story arc. So photos, responses, quotes should all be part of a grand whole. Keeping it firmly in the world of the play and with characters who digress less wildly onto their own orbits.

    4. We didn’t let the main characters speak (which was correct,) but we should have involved them more. The play must be real, and have integrity and you shouldn’t break from the words Shakespeare wrote, or their characters — but those characters needed to exist more online and interlink with the new cast more intelligently.

    5. A story requires the audience to see themselves revealed through a character. Action: Have a hero online, as well as on stage. Puck got closest to this for us and created the most interaction online. He was brilliant but we could have made more of his part.

    6. Create strong media channels. People understand how to share news and gossip. We allowed too much content to be led by the characters not the events.  This is the thing I feel we did least well.

    7. Introduce your characters more slowly and clearly. Clarify the characters and introduce them easily. (Big profile pieces).

    8. Know your content. Build a content library (including imagery & video) which can be drawn on – digital content needs significant pre-production to make sure it responds to the original text appropriately.

    8. Have a stage performance that made sense of the online characters. It was a shame that the online characters did not ‘appear’ in the live performance – which in turn could have made the use of their phones make sense in the context of the play.

    9. Contrive opportunities to ‘show’ the live action more, ‘Film’ must be contextual, you can’t just ‘live-stream’ – but we could have done this better than just letting audience members film and share raw from the room.

    10. Screens break the wilful suspension of disbelief. When we physically sit together as a collective audience (simultaneity) this we become part of that moment; the actors transport us as a whole (transformation) to another world. But operating a phone or ipad drags us out of that world into a solitary world connected to our lives. Which is not where we should be at that moment. Mediating a shared reality or fantasy through a screen removes the possibility of being present in the reality/fantasy. This probably applies to life in general. Ban screens unless they are integrated into the dynamic of the performance.

    11. The power of music. The live musical arrangement created magic and drama and tension – right down to the blackbird at daybreak in Act II – we completely failed to transfer this to the online. Which was a shame.

    12. Know your tools better. I came away impressed with Google+ but we should have used it more widely beforehand. It has endless confusing but epic properties. Communities, Events, Circles, Photos, Q&A, Hangouts, +1′s, Pages, API’s etc. Fb wasn’t a focus but Twitter, Vine, Instagram and Storify were all great tools.

    13. The digital stage confounded some, annoyed others, and delighted a few.  It suffered from trying to show too much, yet also carried too much exposition. Trying to show the story but also not baffle first-time visitors.

    14. To ‘watch’ the play, the online audience took a ‘research’ approach. While the site was pretty, the audience indicated that the play worked best in conjunction with their native G+ and Twitter i.e. as if they were browsing a news event, rather than watching a channel. Allow and encourage multiple ways to experience the action online (and maybe offline).

    15. Don’t confuse the hell out of your audience. However much we hide behind the “first time” or “experient” argument, clearly the structure was baffling to some we could have done better at guiding our audience. Create catch-up trailers and hold the hand more.

    16. Ask clearly and make it easy. When we specifically asked people to do something it worked well. Yet we had a community of 1k people who actively signed up yet we didn’t successfully ‘ask’ them to do as much as they clearly wanted to. Choose clear activities, create roles and jobs and assign those roles to users.

    17. We obey 4th wall dynamics even when told not to. It was optimistic to imagine that our audience would disobey the natural instinct to ‘watch’ a play rather than interact.  Those that did found it rewarding but those that didn’t found the fragmented, fractured and intentional disorganization off-putting. We could have helped them more. Don’t fight the desire to consume passively – give easy ways to ‘just watch’.

    18. Know your level. Working with the RSC actors was incredible and perhaps highlighted the distance between 10 years of social digital and 500 years of theatrical practice.

    19. Be in the room. We made it so hard by having the digital, creative and theatrical teams on different sides of the planet. That was dumb.

    20. If you don’t tell people, they won’t come. Online advertising works. I know you think I would say that, but it is true.

    21. Involve everyone. Alix Christie brilliantly suggested (the day before) that a journalist would have wanted a hangout round-table on issues around subjugation and misogyny in Athenian/Fairy marriage. Talk to everyone about your idea, all the time. No one will steal it.

    Insult Generator

    Insult Generator

    Conclusions

    At the end of the project we must re-examine the hypothesis and interrogate our ambitions.

    Have we explored? Certainly.

    Have we reached new audiences? Yes.

    Was it successful? No idea.

    We believe it was a blueprint for something with enormous potential. As a kindly friend put it, something that shouldn’t have worked, did sort of work – and for that reason we are very happy with the outcome.

    There is more we could have done with the content and activating passive audiences. This is the power of retrospect.  Also I disliked the way we used phones and cameras. They broke something – so we need to integrate the hardware, more intelligently. They need more context to be less clumsy. The actors were unperturbed, nor was everyone in the audience bothered – so possibly just me.

    Throughout the project I was astonished by the Royal Shakespeare Company, it’s bravery and energy, it’s ability to conjure fairy worlds, and its belief in trying. Both from the board but also the people there, everyone was so many passionate, courageous, involved – so I would like to offer a one-person standing ovation to the entire Company. Bravo.

    This was a disruptive experiment and a hugely successful one if judged simply on what we learnt and where we now move forward from.

    My hope is that the next time someone wants to have a non-linear play that leaks across multiple realities in real-time performed physically and digitally simultaneously to a global audience they will not have to explain it from the ground up to blank looks and puzzled faces. They can point at the RSC’s seminal 2013 production and say “like that, but much better”.

    Copy of RSC01

    dream-characters0018 dream-characters0019fairy flying school

  • BBH London is looking for a Digital Analyst

    17th October 13

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in digital, People

    Author: Ben Shaw, Social Strategy Lead

    Does the idea of using data to tell stories and to inspire the very best creative ideas make you weak at the knees? If so, listen up – BBH is looking for a digital analyst to help bolster the existing team of hand-picked social specialists.

    What do digital analysts look like at BBH?

    They need to know digital & social metrics inside out, as well as having knowledge of the tools that allow us to get to these metrics (Facebook Insights, Crimson Hexagon, Hitwise, ComScore, True Social Metrics etc.).

    They are relentlessly curious and motivated; a person who understands how social fits into the bigger picture and can interpret this sometimes complex relationship, into simple and tangible terms for our clients.

    We need someone who can make our clients feel loved, by understanding their business objectives and translating these into social KPIs.

    Above all, they are someone who acknowledges the ever-increasing number of data points, but can demonstrate the separation between simply reporting  on and actually analysing the data – someone who avoids (the beautifully coined) ‘data puke’ in favour for concise analysis and pithy insights.

    Experience

    We’re  looking for someone who eats and sleeps social data – who is comfortable guiding both the clients and account teams on metrics that matter to them. Someone who is used to pulling together measurement frameworks tailored to each client. They will have been intrinsic in not only how campaigns should be measured, but in using data to optimise a live campaign to demonstrate the merits of reactivity.

    Knowledge

    In addition to all of the above, they will have an understanding of the crowded social technology landscape and have infectious enthusiasm for new tools & methodologies that will help us produce great work for our clients. They will have mourned the loss of Google Reader as a means to streamline the many blogs they read on social analytics – and importantly, have a point of view on the million dollar question of ROI. We want someone who can use this knowledge to evolve existing products and create new ones. Most importantly, they will impart this knowledge in an inspiring and approachable way to the rest of the agency – to help spread our objective of creating more socially connected ideas.

    Entrepreneurial Skills

    BBH is fortunate enough to have some of the biggest brands in our portfolio because we’re a restless company, constantly striving to do the best, most creative and innovative work possible. Creating socially connected ideas is at the top of agenda for growth so we need someone who has an entrepreneurial attitude to their work – enough to continue to grow the BBH social analytics offering.

    BBH Fit

    Ultimately like all BBHers, we want someone who is ‘good & nice’- someone who wants to make great work and work in a great environment.

    If you think you are one, or know of one, then send in a CV to: social@bbh.co.uk

  • The making of Nike Hypervenom: House of Deadly

    14th October 13

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in digital, Events

    Author: Miguel Andres-Clavera, Creative Technology and Innovation Director, BBH Asia Pacific

    Nike HyperV1

    For some time now, artists, programmers and marketers have been seeking innovative ways to collaborate, to blur the line between art and technology, thereby creating complex systems that merge the real world with the digital world. As these new experiences transcend digital mediums and permeate our physical experience, we begin to witness the emergence of public performance as a spectacle.

    We had a great opportunity to explore some of these ideas when we were tasked to launch Nike’s new Hypervenom football boot collection in Southeast Asia. Our imagination ran wild at the thought of of creating an experience that combined real football with virtual challenges and got us really excited. In a way we wanted to allow fans to experience a whole new way of playing football, to make fans feel as if they were personally immersed in an epic video game.

    The challenge was to create an authentic experience that preserved the physical skills and attributes required when playing football in real life, then take the player through an intense emotional journey culminating in a ‘deadly’ twist, giving him or her a sense of empowerment from the game.

    The ‘house of deadly’ was born, a mixed-reality gameplay experience in a controlled environment where players were monitored and challenged to perform actual football skills but in a virtual context using an adaptive interface. Read full post

  • Media Innovation: Lessons from the The Silk Road.

    26th September 13

    bbhlabs_silkroad

    One of the more innovative corners of the Web, is a dark and somewhat unscrupulous place. That does not mean that it cannot contain a wealth of innovative thinking, once you scratch the surface.

    Since it’s launch in 2011, The SIlk Road has pushed the value of bitcoins (the digital currency underpinning its operation.) by over 200 fold, to today’s worth which is over $100 USD. Since the rise of the Internet, no other online marketplace can boast so high a demand, that it lifts a digital currency to become the world’s most valuable. Aside from its huge product demand, there are a number of innovations on The Silk Road that will likely be adopted by the rest of online retailers in the coming years.

    US Senator Chuck Schumer summed up the site nicely as “the most brazen attempt to peddle drugs online that we have ever seen… by light-years.” He demanded that the website be shut down in 2011, but the Drug Enforcement Administration has yet to find a way to do so.

    To an outsider, how such a site still exists may not make sense: the buyer and seller are anonymous, they sell illegal drugs, and do so with an online currency. However, the mechanics to make this work so seamlessly are in fact, light years ahead of their time.

    The transaction process on The Silk Road is one of the most innovative systems on the Internet today and the population’s trust in the economy allows for an extremely simple system.

    Here is the user experience of a transaction:
    A buyer decides to make a purchase, they notify the seller of the quantity and their bitcoins are transferred from their wallet to The Silk Road. Their bitcoins are then held with The Silk Road, which acts as an escrow agent for the transaction. The bitcoins are only released to the seller after the buyer has received the product and leaves a review on the seller’s page.

    This very simple mechanic of mandating product reviews is an extremely smart step when dealing with a black market because the market becomes more intelligent with every single transaction. This mandate naturally lessens the risk of scammers and builds the trust in the market that it requires to operate. Quite simply, The sellers with the better products get the best reviews and buyers shop with more confidence.

    Online retailers like Etsy, Airbnb and Craigslist could benefit from implementing The Silk Road’s review-dependent transaction system. A major barrier for small vendors is garnering enough trust, which usually takes years and several purchases to gain. Although notorious for it’s drug-trafficking, beneath the pavement of the Silk Road lie a number of amazing innovations. happening in this surreal environment that we can all learn from.

  • Creativity from destruction

    23rd September 13

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in Creativityforgood, digital

    Author: Mareka Carter, Writer & Art Director, BBH London

    Rosalind Davis, 'I Will Wait For You', 2012

    Rosalind Davis, ‘I Will Wait For You’, 2012

    We know anyone reading this blog is interested in hearing about new digital experiences, and so we’re proud to announce a little probono project that a small team have been working on at BBH.

    Artist Rosalind Davis approached us to see if we could help give some exposure to an exhibition she was mounting of work made in response to the London Riots.
    With our connections in Tottenham built from the Keep Aaron Cutting project, we suggested a venue and then a concept – to turn fine art into a truly digital and immersive interactive experience.

    Inspired by Rosalind’s theme of using creativity as a means to repair after destruction, we have built her a website for her show, To The Light - which makes two of her artworks in the online gallery,  Splinters and The Distance Between, into soundscapes of archive from the time of the riots, combined with commentary and opinions from Rosalind herself and others. Snippets of sound are released as you mouseover the brushstrokes and structure of the image.

    The site encourages people to add their own thoughts to Rosalind’s work by recording voice memos and emailing them through to further populate the soundscape, which we hope will grow and grow.

    The show’s private view is next Wednesday 25th September between 6-8:30pm at the Bruce Castle Museum in Tottenham.

    We’ve definitely enjoyed demonstrating Rosalind’s belief in creativity’s power to effect change and open up discussion, so please participate if you’re moved to, and do spread the word.

    Thankyou.

    The creative band involved: 

    Mareka Carter & Adam Powers on concept, Alex Matthews & Luke Kidney on tech and build, Heather Alderson & Xoch Ireland on connections and organisation, Izzy Barnes on PR advice, and Ian Lambden at the Mini Mill on sound engineering.

    Rosalind Davis. The Beginning. Part of the Halfway through the Dark Series.

    Rosalind Davis. The Beginning. Part of the Halfway through the Dark Series.

     
  • The future of display is native

    9th September 13

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in advertising, digital

    The final (for now) instalment in a series of cross-posts of some of the monthly tech columns we’ve written for Marketing magazine over the course of the year. This article on native advertising appeared in Marketing’s April issue.

    ***

    A wise agency head recently told me that, statistically, a person is more likely to die in an airplane crash than click on a banner ad. Not least because I’m writing this month’s column on a long haul flight to San Francisco (where I’ve been lucky enough to be invited by a client to spend the week immersed with them at Google’s Creative Academy), this is something I’m hoping not to be true.

     It is certainly the case that display ads are woefully ineffective, just witness the average CTR of a banner ad: at 0.2% in 2012 (from 9% in 2000, in case you’re wondering). Indeed, the death of display advertising has been declared so many times over the past decade or so, it’s astonishing it still has a pulse.

     And yet, it’s a sure-fire truth that when anyone declares the death of anything, it’s how often that thing shape-shifts and re-surfaces, alive and well, in a different form (check out one of my favourite articles of all time, ‘The Tragic Death of Practically Everything’ here).

     In the case of display, witness the inexorable rise of Native advertising.

    Most jargon makes my blood run cold, but this is a term I increasingly like for a couple of reasons:

    1.    The term evokes a sense of belonging and integrity; an opportunity for a brand to show an understanding of natural platform behaviours and a concern with user experience that isn’t associated with traditional display advertising nearly enough.

    2. It is one way publishers and media owners may manage to monetize their online platforms effectively, without sacrificing user experience.

    In short, the user, the brand and the media owner all stand to win. It’s that combination which makes Native advertising worth paying attention to.

     What native advertising is

    Relevant, paid-for content that appears within the editorial stream of a publisher’s site or social network. Current examples include: promoted tweets on Twitter, ads in search, sponsored stories on Facebook, Tumblr Spotlight, promoted videos on YouTube, paid-for editorial content. It’s where publishing, PR and creative content meet.

     What it isn’t

    ‘Understanding natural platform behaviours’ does not mean producing wallpaper. The very best Native advertising is thought-provoking, creative, even disruptive; witness BBH’s work for the domestic abuse charity, Refuge, featuring the YouTube star, Lauren Luke. Nor is it content that pretends to be genuine editorial. No user likes the brand that duped them by presenting commercial content in an editorial environment, with no demarcation from the publisher’s content or link to the brand involved.

    Some thoughts on briefing native advertising

    1.    Native advertising is a (paid-for) means to an end, not an end in its own right. Its role might to recruit new users or kick-start an offer or initiative. As such, it’s more a sign-post on a connected path or story, not pure branded content per se. Simple things like including a call to action or a useful link back to the brand can be overlooked, but are critical to progressing an interested user’s journey.

    2.    It’s equally important we make sure the team involved knows what constitutes natural behaviour on a given platform and respects it. Etiquette and UX, both crucial at the best of times, are disproportionately important here.

    3. Silo-ed organisations won’t fare well here. Look for the people who demonstrate they see the whole picture: they care deeply about user experience, have a strong grasp of your brand voice and the nuances of the different, constantly evolving platforms.

    Who knows, perhaps display isn’t dead, it’s just gone native.

  • Keep it Simple, Stupid!

    9th August 13

    Posted by Jeremy Ettinghausen

    Posted in digital, UX

    Authors; Kimberley Gill, Creative, and Adam Powers, Head of User Experience

    BA1

    We live for our holidays, and yet sorting them out has become a self-service chore. So it didn’t feel right to just tell people that British Airways *do* holidays, we wanted to deliver on their brand promise to serve, by creating an experience that actually helps people to plan their perfect break.

    We talked about how holiday planning  begins with a picture in your head, and it’s these images that resonate emotionally – when people pick up a guide book they go straight for the photos pages. This made us think – wouldn’t it be good to make a tool that stimulates the senses and imagination, helping you plan your holidays with just your eyes?

    Coming up with the idea of choosing your holiday through pictures was relatively quick,  but the biggest challenge was executing it in a simple, functional amator porno and pleasing way. We explored a few options with different levels of interactivity. One involved asking people a series of visual questions, another was a sort of ‘paint by numbers’ –  but both these seemed to add an unnecessary layer onto a very simple idea. This exploration made us realise that we should use as few words as possible and make the most intuitive experience we possibly could.

    The tool simply needed to read image choices, then suggest bespoke holiday options to match. This felt like a new way to inspire and buy a holiday in itself. And that’s where the name came from: ‘Picture Your Holiday”.

    BA2

    The soul of the experience was always going to be in the animation and interaction – no amount of beautifully designed stills could bring it to life – so in order to ‘see’ this we had to prototype the build. Moving quickly to prototype gave us a number of advantages – it helped focus the team, which unearthed the key interaction challenges very early on. This proved to be cost effective and allowed us more time to really think hard about solutions.

    We were able to explore the tool across mobile and tablet simultaneously, adapting the development branch so that each was optimal but largely from the same code base. Which in turn meant the interactive six sheets at Westfield are essentially running the same version of the tool that works in your browser. Added effort early on made for a much more effective roll-out towards the end of the project.

    There was also a great sense of excitement at the point where we shared it with the client, they could see for themselves the simplicity and delight in the idea. We were then able to do real world guerrilla user testing with the prototype to get feedback and roll it into the iterative dev cycle. Several recurring key findings changed our approach, one of those being the labelling of buttons.

    As the prototype evolved into what would become the final tool, parallel activity to develop ‘campaign ideas’ were set aside. We realised that the product WAS the campaign and the concertina of beautiful images would become the key visual for all communications platforms.

    Behind the elegant interface is a data driven system for all device types. We created a spreadsheet of attributes for each destination and then assigned a value to each. It was then exported as a JSON file, means that the whole thing can still be updated easily, should BA wish to add new holiday destinations, by simply deploying a new file to the cloud.

    ba3

    The end result is something which feels elegant, inspiring and fun to use.

  • The ABCs of Contemporary Creatives

    20th May 13



    As a product of the first dotcom boom in the mid-nineties I have always been digitally minded. I found my way to advertising through a decade of working in some of the finest interactive studios. More so than ever those two worlds have collided. Earlier this year I set out to write a book that took some of that learning and the mindset of working as a creative in a digital world.

    The format of the book took on the look and feel a children’s book for learning the alphabet, with each letter referencing a way of thinking or an insight into the modern creative process. The book was lovingly illustrated by 26 of the industry’s best, and to introduced the book, I asked a simple question of five of advertising’s top creative minds. What does it mean to be a contemporary creative in today’s modern world of advertising? Below are three of the responses I received, the remaining responses can be found by reading the book itself.

    “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.” What does it mean to be a creative these days? It’s almost impossible to answer this. The tasks of a creative are unrecognisable from as little as five years ago. You must decide whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. Certainly the days of easy three week shoots in the Caribbean are long gone. But when has an advertising creative ever had the chance to make a physical product from scratch? To really make something? Some would argue clients have never been more conservative but some guy just fell from space for a can of pop with no guarantee that his brains wouldn’t splatter across a million screens. It seems it’s wise to be foolish. One thing a creative does need to be is a hustler. There are no easy briefs any more. You have to fight for the crazy stuff. But I honestly believe in a more uniform and conservative world weird stands out, weird – like ‘Greed’ – works. Look at GaGa. When the going gets weird the weird turn pro. Is that what we are, professional weirdos? I can live with that. - James Cooper

    “Creativity” is a loaded word – like “war” or “god” or “child.” It has a lot in common with these words too – for it’s a mix of heavy burden and a blinding belief in our own potential to invent. “Creative” is too often reserved for people who are quirky, strange, tattooed and/or mustachioed. But in truth, everyone is creative with the way they solve the needs of the contemporary world – be they juggling numbers, whittling a good spear, or even in the conjuring of creative design and advertising. What we’re talking about here is indeed creativity in the visual, interactive and social-psychological senses. The Contemporary Creative has the ability to excite all of these with ease, telling stories and inciting action. Those before us molded clay, steel, and wood, but we flex our power with pixels and clicks, flash frames and light, code strings and sensors. We are manipulators – hopefully for good. The one trick pony creative no longer exists; instant death comes to those with narrow-minds, parochial interests or inflexibility. Inquisitiveness, fearlessness and an insatiable thirst for The New are the only real mandates for today’s creative minds. So feed your inner child. Create something from nothing. It’s a war of the senses. - David Schwarz

    You can’t be of your time creatively if you’re behind in how you can express it. Nice sound bite, that. And like most sound bites, half true, half full of shit. Why it’s half shit: you can be and do whatever you want creatively. There is absolutely no right or wrong, just expression or no expression. That’s the goddamn beauty of it. Why it’s half true? If you want to have an impact, to have other people see or hear or experience your creativity, hd porno it’s a good idea to understand the times you’re living in, the mediums and formats are resonating with people – and understand the tools are available to bring your expressions to life. Know those, and all that creativity inside has a chance to be seen, experienced, and shared. Which makes you a creative person of your time, a ‘contemporary creative’ so to speak. - John Patroulis

    The printed version of the book is set to be released on June 6th, however in the spirit of the open Web, I have published the book in it’s entirety as a tumblr blog. You can scroll through it contents at this url: abcbook.tumblr.com

  • Through the Looking Glass: Reflections on SXSW 2013

    15th March 13

    Posted by timnolan

    Posted in BBH Labs, digital, sxsw

    SXSW2013_Vert_IA_RGB

    Having spent nearly a decade as a judge, panelist, or an attendee at SXSW I have witnessed massive sweeping changes in the size, scope, and tone of this festival.

    My earliest experiences at South by Southwest were fueled by conversations with futurists, digital pioneers, and creative folks exploring a new medium. The festival was small, unknown, and very personal. It stayed that way, and became the annual vehicle for meeting up with the community in real life. It was where we could hear what everyone was thinking, doing, and more importantly what they were feeling. It was about those people and how they were helping shape the Web.

    A few short years later the advertising agencies began to take note of SXSW and began attending in force. The first wave was of course the recruiters, hungry for “Digital Talent”. The next wave was comprised of creative, planners, strategists, and account people. There were agency parties, panels, and booths. The festival became too large to curate by a group of people who for the last few years were all on a first name basis. Enter the “Panel Picker”.

    There is of course something admirable to be said about allowing the public to decide upon the content of next year’s festival, however the “public” had shifted from this group of connected people helping to shape the Web to a network of agencies, corporations, top-tier brands, and holding corps. This without doubt, was going to impact the tone of the festival. And it did.

    SXSW panel content began to drift away from personal reflections of the past year and projections of the years to come. They became a platform for agencies and brands to build a presence within the interactive community. A large percentage of the conversations became pitches and the passionate thinking about the future went silent.

    This year felt different. There was a visible shift. This year there was another generation emerging from within the festival. The maker’s movement had arrived and they took on many forms. Elon Musk gave an extremely illuminating talk. There were 3D scanners and printers that created our century’s first glimpse at the idea of teleportation. There were also production shops like Deep Local best know for Nike’s Chalk bot talking about the path of his company from Punk Rock to CEO. There was definitely a something new in the air. The festival subconsciously rebooted and began focusing on the future again.

    “No one wants PCs” – Bruce Sterling

    This year during Bruce Sterling’s closing remarks, he made clear the circle of life in technology. For every innovation and advancement we embrace, the previous piece of technology it replaces dies. He explained the importance of recognizing and redtube porno owning that. Bruce also went on to talk about focusing on the people behind the tech, and the importance of the thinkers and makers vs. the end product. It was during this talk that made the turning point evident. We need to embrace the idea of making, but making in such a way that we were aware of what we are replacing. The only constants in the equation are the individuals behind the advancements.

    The festival left me thinking that next year would mark a return to that original “futurist spirit”. Sure there will be a huge brand presence, but the content, the core of the SXSW will once again be about the future through the lens of technology and more importantly through the voices of those leading the charge.

  • BBH London: Hiring a Digital Analyst

    29th January 13

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in digital, People

    Who we’re after
    A digital analyst who knows their way around analytics and social metrics but who has that sixth sense to sniff out fresh insights that have real strategic value.  We need someone who can focus on the story that the data are telling them, not just crank out campaign reports.

    What you’ll be like
    Smart, curious, passionate and a great communicator.  Someone who will be comfortable working alongside strategists, creatives and clients.  An analyst that can bravoteens porno explain complex measurement and analysis in plain and simple language.  You will love being a digital specialist but you will be able to see the bigger picture and you will understand that whatever tools we use to gather our insights we are ultimately seeking to understand consumer behaviour and motivation.

    Responsibilities/key attributes

    • In depth knowledge of digital analytics tools (eg Sysomos, Google Analytics, Comscore) and the creative use of free digital insight tools
    • Ability to bring the numbers to life and tell a story with data from different sources
    • Appetite and ability to translate insight into strategic recommendation
    • Experience of effectiveness measurement and KPI tracking
    • Desire to work in a creative environment with creative people
    • Entrepreneurial: actively seek new opportunities to gather insights and help teams benefit from digital intelligence
    • Good people skills and ability to build relationships across all disciplines
    • Other key attributes: Hardworking, energetic, collaborative, good organisational skills and cultural knowledge

    If this sounds like your kind of job, we want to hear from you. Please send a cv, details or link to romy.miller@bbh.co.uk

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